A Game of Thrones-Chapter 6
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Ned and Catelyn are in Catelyn's bedchamber after making love. Uncomfortable with the warmth of the room, which is heated by hot springs beneath the castle, Ned opens the windows. As she watches him from the bed, Catelyn thinks he looks the same as when she married him and hopes they have conceived another child.
The couple discuss King Robert's offer, which Ned intends to refuse. Catelyn insists that he must accept so as not to offend the king, which might put them all in danger. While Catelyn contemplates the omen of the direwolf killed by a stag, Ned wishes his brother Brandon had lived to be Lord of Winterfell instead.
They are interrupted by a guardsman named Desmond, who says that Maester Luwin has an urgent message. The maester is shown in and explains that a carved wooden box containing a fine new glass lens was left in his observatory while he was napping. The way it was delivered made the maester wonder and he discovered a message hidden beneath a false bottom. Maester Luwin says he has not read it, and will not give it to Ned because it is addressed to Catelyn.
Catelyn takes the message apprehensively. It is from her sister Lysa and written in a secret language only the two sisters share. Catelyn immediately burns the message after reading it, but explains to Ned that the message claims Jon Arryn was murdered by Queen Cersei and her family. Catelyn insists that now Ned must be the Hand of the King, to find the truth behind Lysa's accusations. Maester Luwin agrees with Catelyn, pointing out that the Hand's authority will help determine the truth and protect Lysa and her son. Ned reminds them both that his father went south once at the summons of a king and never returned. Luwin replies that that was a different time and a different king. Catelyn insist that if Ned truly loves King Robert like a brother, he will not leave him to face the Lannisters on his own.
Ned then makes his decision: he will go, but Catelyn must stay behind to govern Winterfell and teach his heir Robb how to be a proper lord. He allows that young Rickon may stay with her as well, but the others must come south--Sansa to wed Joffrey, and Arya to learn the ways of a southern court. Catelyn reluctantly agrees, but begs that seven-year-old Bran be allowed to stay. Ned insists that Bran must bridge the gap between Robb and Joffrey. The house will be the safer for it, and Catelyn has to agree. Catelyn feels lonely already.
Maester Luwin asks about Jon Snow and Catelyn's anger flashes. She remembers the bastard child that Ned brought back with him in the early days of their marriage. She understood Ned fathering a bastard son, but could not understand raising a bastard in the castle. There were rumors that Ashara Dayne was the boy's mother, but Ned forbade Catelyn to ask about it, insisting that all she needed to know was that Jon was his blood. Ned would never send Jon away though, and Catelyn could never forgive him that. Catelyn insists that Jon must leave Winterfell, but Ned argues that there will be no place for Jon at court. Maester Luwin mentions Jon's ambitions to join the Night's Watch. Ned considers this for a while and finally agrees to let Jon take the black, though not until they are ready to leave for the south; he wants Jon to enjoy his last few days. Ned decides that when it is time, he will tell Jon himself.
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